Ford and Virginia Tech Team Up for Driverless Technology

The future of autonomous and driverless vehicles is just around the corner. Automakers around the world are working on this technology. Ford and Virginia Tech have teamed up to study a unique aspect of self-driving cars—how people react to them.

When you reach an intersection with people waiting on the corner, you likely communicate with them through hand waves, head nods, or other gestures to show them your intentions. With a driverless vehicle, that communication is lost.

With the research Ford and Virginia Tech are doing, they have developed a series of light signals that can be used to show pedestrians what an autonomous vehicle is going to do next. To put these lights to the test, they equipped a Ford Transit with a light bar on the windshield and then created a “seat suit” to conceal the driver and make it look like a driverless vehicle.

You can watch this video to see how it works.

John Shutko, Ford’s human factors technical specialist, said, “We need to solve for the challenges presented by not having a human driver, so designing a way to replace the head nod or hand wave is fundamental to ensuring safe and efficient operation of self-driving vehicles in our communities.”

What would you think if you saw a driverless vehicle? Here at Shults Ford of Harmarville, we are excited to see where this incredible technology goes next.

Ford and Virginia Tech

2017 Ford Focus RS

Tearing down the highway and back county roads used to be the realm that the Ford Mustang specialized in, but now the Mustang might have to share. The 2017 Ford Focus RS is a power-packed hatchback designed for drivers who want more punch in the gas pedal. Affordable pricing and a legacy of performance make the Ford Focus RS a tough model to argue with.

The “RS” in Ford Focus RS stands for “Rally Sport.” The 2017 Ford Focus is the latest model to the bear the badge, putting it in a pool of performance-driven models. Just over 20 models have had the honor of bearing the badge since 1970.

The 2017 Ford Focus RS comes equipped with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine paired to a manual transmission. That powertrain delivers a heart-stopping 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque to the road.

The hot hatch rolls out on sport tires with a low stance that says it’s ready for action. Performance front disc brakes, a firm suspension, and more reinforce that statement. Advanced technologies, such as Launch Control, adjustable traction control, and switchable driving modes allow drivers to get as close to the road as they please.

We here at Shults Ford of Harmarville are ready to take you on a test drive in the exciting new 2017 Ford Focus.

2017 Ford Focus RS

Ford Electric Van to Aid German Postal Service

Ford is an American automaker that tends to be a leader when it comes to innovation. Now that quality is expanding overseas where the German Postal Service has solidified a deal with Ford to create electric delivery vehicles. The new battery-powered models will be based on the existing Ford Transit and deliver packages across the country.

The partnership will ultimately elevate Ford to become the largest midsized e-van maker in Europe. The German Post Service, which owns the DHL shipping service as well, currently operates bare-bones vans that lack amenities like a passenger seat and radio. The vans are also limited to a top speed of under 50 mph.

Ford Transit Delivery Van

The new Ford electric delivery van is rumored to be based on the existing Ford Transit.

The Ford electric van will come to replace the German Postal Service’s diesel fleet of 92,000 vans. The American automaker plans to begin production in July and have 2,500 vans operating by the end of 2018.

Based on the Ford Transit, the new electric-powered delivery vans will offer an eco-friendly, more affordable way for the German Postal Service to meet customer needs. With health concerns over diesel continuing to grow, alternative energy is the clear answer to a brighter, more efficient future.

We here at Shults Ford of Harmarville are pumped to see Ford continuing to uphold its reputation as a leader of innovation.

Stars Who Love Ford

Movie stars and music artists often find themselves intentionally, or even unintentionally, promoting a specific make and model or brand of vehicle. No performer purposely purchases a bad vehicle, so it’s more than likely the vehicle they’re driving features upscale materials and quality engineering. That sounds like the perfect description for a certain American brand, and stars tend to agree. We here at Shults Ford of Harmarville know of a few stars who love Ford models.

Steve McQueen

Bullitt was a movie that starred Steve McQueen behind the wheel of a 1968 Ford Mustang GT. The movie’s impact was so great, even in the present day, that Ford created a limited edition Mustang GT Bullitt.

While McQueen was a renowned car collector, he never managed to gain ownership of the car he drove in the movie. He attempted to convince owners of the only surviving movie model to sell the car to him, but never succeeded.

Jay Leno

Perhaps the most notorious car lover in media is Jay Leno, as evidenced by NBC’s dedicated webpage of his garage.

The late-night talk-show host got his first job at a Ford dealership, and his father would often call his 1966 Ford Galaxie 7 a “rocket ship” because of its performance. That likely jumpstarted Leno’s interest in Ford and ultimately led to his present ownership of a 1965 Ford Mustang GT 350. He was also friends with Carroll Shelby, the creator of the Shelby Mustang, for more than 20 years.

2018 Ford Mustang GT - Stars Who Love Ford

Why Road Trips in a Ford Edge Are the Best Kind of Road Trips

There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road for a trip away from the norm. Road trips are a great way to experience the country from a different perspective, and offer an intimate setting for family bonding. If you can get behind this type of adventure, then you need to consider planning your next road trip in a Ford Edge. This sporty crossover has the space and the comfort that will make your whole crew feel at home from point A to point B.

But road trips aren’t just about seats big enough for napping. There are design details in the 2017 Ford Edge that enhance each ride beyond modern comfort. Features like ambient LED lighting in the cabin will set the mood after dark. But when the sun is still up, having the available Panoramic Vista Roof® open will give passengers a whole new connection with the sunny skies as you move along to your destination.

A perfect road trip vehicle would also be equipped with the perfect suite of technology and safety features. After all, nothing can act as a substitute for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your vehicle is a safe haven. The 2017 Ford Edge is full of gadgets, from driver-assist technologies to tools like navigation,that will surely make your trip a success.

To learn more about what’s offered in the Ford Edge, or to hear why we love road trips in this crossover, stop by Shults Ford Harmarville today.

Road trips in a Ford Edge

Lincoln and Ford at the Pittsburgh Auto Show

Ford at the Pittsburgh Auto Show

See what to expect from Ford at this Auto Show!

Every year, local car enthusiasts can go to experience some of the latest new models, along with iconic classics, on display at the Pittsburgh Auto Show. This year, the show will be held February 17-20 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

With Lincoln and Ford at the Pittsburgh Auto Show, the two automotive brands will have some of the latest models on display in an area in the center of the building. Lincoln will showcase the 2016 MKZ, along with the refreshed 2017 MKZ. Additionally, visitors can check out the 2016 MKX, 2016 Navigator, and the all-new 2017 Continental, Lincoln’s show-stopping flagship model.

As for Ford, the exact models they will be brining are not known, but we hope to see some of its latest vehicles and technology on display. Perhaps we’ll get to see the new autonomous technology that Ford had on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month.

One of the most anticipated parts of the Pittsburgh Auto Show is the annual Dancing With the Cars charity event. By purchasing a ticket to this evening event, you’ll not only get an exclusive view of the show, but you will also be supporting several local charities. This year’s dinner and dance will be held on February 16th, the night before the show officially opens.

Are you planning to attend this year’s Pittsburgh Auto Show? Let us know by stopping into Shults Ford of Harmarville.

Ford Last Mile Mobility Challenge

As an automotive manufacturer, Ford is always on the forefront of furthering mobility. Ford employees are stepping up to the plate to do their part. The Ford Last Mile Mobility Challenge takes submissions for personal assistant devices from Ford employees. The challenge received more than 600 submissions in 2016, which was an annual record. The short list of finalists rounds out to an impressive lineup of mobility inventions.

Carr-E, created by Killian Vas of Germany, can transport up to 260 lbs. and travel up to 14 miles. The four-wheeled device also has a top speed of 11 mph. Place an item on the device and it will follow an electronic transmitter.

TriCiti, created by James Neugebauer, Torsten Gerhardt, and Robert Spahl, is a rideable device and carrying assistant. The machine can be modified to carrying groceries, golf bags, and more. It boasts a 19-mile range and a top speed of up to 12 mph.

The EChair, developed by Gunther Cuypers, Robin Celis, and David Longin, is an electric wheelchair with a twist. This particular invention can load itself into a vehicle. That alone offers more independence to those with limited mobility.

We here at Shults Ford of Harmarville are happy to see Ford employees taking the initiative when it comes to furthering mobility!

Ford Last Mile Mobility Challenge

Ford Complex Honeybees Tended by Volunteer Worker

Ford employee Mary Mason, who works at the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, has taken up the task of tending to tens of thousands of honeybees right outside the complex. Honeybee populations have been steadily declining for decades, and Mason hopes to combat the decline by supporting the more than 80,000 bees installed in two beehives on the grounds of the Rouge plant.

Factors such as Colony Collapse Disorder, pesticides, and parasites have had serious negative effects on US honeybees, one of our vital pollinating species. Ford is working with Mason to further its wildlife habitat strategy, which over the last 15 years has turned the Rouge Complex from a plain gray building to a place where nature thrives.

The Heritage 2000 Program started Ford’s environmental initiatives, where they brought in a sustainability designer to make over the complex. Because the complex already has flowering crabapple trees on their grounds, it seemed like a perfect fit for the honeybees.

The Ford complex honeybees were introduced to the orchard thirteen years ago, and Mason, who brought some of her own bees in as well, has volunteered to take care of them for the last three. Mason shared that the die-off rate of bees in Michigan is 60 to 70%, and she’s glad for the chance to care for the bees in a pesticide-free environment.

Ford complex honeybees

Ford Fund Investment in Detroit Neighborhood to Build Community Center and Further Educational Opportunities

Ford Fund will invest $5 million in a struggling Detroit neighborhood to build a community center and create education opportunities. Ford Fund is Ford Motor Company’s philanthropic arm and has made investments of over $161 million in area communities over the last 10 years.

The Ford Fund investment in Detroit will launch a second Ford Resource and Engagement Center in conjunction with Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The center will be housed at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy on the east side of the city and will give better access to educational materials and other essential services for area children and adults.

In addition to providing information access and services, the Ford Resource and Engagement Center will do its best to meet community needs by providing programs asked for by residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, including job training programs, cultural and art services, and food distribution.

The first Detroit Ford Resource and Engagement Center is located on the southwest side in Mexicantown Mercado and has helped more than 80,000 residents. The original center offers services such as preparing tax returns and giving more than 1.2 million pounds of food. Ford says the return on investment for the community is $3 for every $1 spent on the programs by Ford.

The new center is due to open in early 2017 and will be managed by the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

Ford Fund investment in Detroit

Coca-Cola’s Cross-Country Trip in a 2017 Ford Escape a Success

What happens when you cross two American icons with one American dream? You get the Coca-Cola Journey. This September, Ford teamed up with Coca-Cola to take an all-American cross-country road trip. A customized 2017 Ford Escape compact SUV was decked out in classic Coke red, a special hashtag and, of course, a custom cooler for bottles of Coke in the rear cargo area.

Coca-Cola’s cross-country trip started at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. Members of the Coca-Cola Journey team loaded into the 2017 Ford Escape and a matching motorhome that housed them along their way. The crew departed on September 13th with plans to arrive in Los Angeles on October 5th. Throughout their trip, they covered roughly 4,000 miles of America,  making over 20 stops along the way in cities like Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Santa Fe.

Team members worked to document their trip using the hashtag #JourneyXJourney. This hashtag allowed them to connect with consumers on different social media platforms, while their presence in each city let them reach out to consumers one-on-one in person. Coca-Cola’s cross-country road trip team worked to capture their stories along the way, and to reconnect with the Coca-Cola brand’s deep ties to American culture across the country.

Coca-Cola’s Cross-Country Trip

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